Antonio IsiordiaPaul LindholdtENGL 271: Introduction to Poetry01/29/2021Elizabeth BishopThe poem “At The Fishhouses” by Elizabeth Bishop is terrific, and I am especially fond of its ending. Throughout the poem, Bishop uses impeccable description, and it almost is as if weare there with her. She speaks of what it is like being at one of these fish houses, stating that the smell is so strong that “it makes one’s nose run and one’s eyes water.” It is one thing just to describe what it looks like, but to go into a more profound description and make my senses tinglewith just thinking about how atrocious the smell must be to do that to a person. It feels like you know everything within this poem after reading it. Bishop does a fantastic job at putting us into the poem in a way. She does not just emphasize the larger aspects of this poem. She makes sure to include details that seem minuscule but just add to her poem. You get a sense of this area being older, as one of the fishermen who was friends with her grandfather is said to have used an“old black knife” and how the blade of that knife is “worn.” With her great description comes what ideas she was trying to include, and we get a massive philosophical blast-off, if you will, that was at the end of the poem. She begins to compare the water she is near to not only fire but knowledge as well. She is trying to compare the water’s coldness to the burning sensation a fire causes upon human skin. Bishop mentions that if you were to dip your hand in the water, that “your wrist would ache immediately,” and shethen compares the water to a “transmutation of fire.” She ends this poem with the idea that like
water, knowledge is sometimes cold, dark, but forever flowing down the river of time if you will.